A Celebration of Sacred Spaces | 513.807.6604

About

A Celebration of a Journey

Road to School in India; Copyright 2008 Radha Lakshmi

In our status driven crazy world we can take solace in the meanings that have withstood the test of time. Each product we choose to put in this store is a concentration of meaning meant to preserve ones connection to the journey of life.

We are not alone in this experience, we can share the journey with others and in doing so can reflect the important values we cherish in our life as art objects. We love to bring products to your attention to offer a connection of you to your world, to your society, to your neighborhood, to your spiritual awareness.

We feature ancient traditions because they have derived meaning from the purposeful act of ritual and shared experience

We say contemporary designs because it must fit. It must fit with your life style, with your taste and with your practical needs.

Utsavastu will continue to source and bring items that are clever yet profound, that are simple but attract a core attention of the psyche to the most important things that matter in life — Mindfulness

The founder of Utsavastu has spent many years studying ancient traditions and rituals in all their symbology. She has examined the practical and ephemeral aspects and extracted their essence and presented for your use. Here in this online store are the fruits of this effort.

This is a growing store for a growing need so please suggest or ask if you do not see something important and meaningful that you thing we should feature. it is the mission of utsavastu to share and exchange the tools and traditions with individuals to expand and anchor the connectedness of people from around the world.

A Celebration of Ritual

.
Flowers & Genish; Copyright 2008 Radha Lakshmi

Symbolic images and objects and spaces transform the ordinary into the sacred by reminding us of our past and reaffirming our place in the world. Through the use of rituals, women emphasize their roles as nurturers of people, land and relationship. Ritual art is a central part of the life for several Indigenous Communities around the world. It takes many forms.

With rituals comes celebration of sacred spaces. Regardless of whether the art is for private or public purposes, women from India would say that their knowledge of rituals, celebration and sacredness comes from 'parampara' or from a time without beginning and that we start learning the secrets of sacredness when we are in the womb of our mothers.

'Utsav' meaning festival characterizes the colour, gaiety, as well as rituals that accompany along with a festival. 'Vastu' meaning to 'dwell', is a science that aims to establish a harmonious and sacred spaces using the energies of the universe. It is the Indian version of Feng Shui. Vastu recognizes five elements of creation which is water, air, earth, fire and ether that when honored, enhance the flow of 'prana', the life universal life-force energy. Birth, festivals, death and everyday life in India are all conducted with rituals and sacred ground paintings. The belief is that the walls, particularly the entrance of the house, are the boundaries that must be safeguarded. Hence the magical ground paintings are seen as an invitation for the Goddess's Lakshmi's protection and prevention of the evil eye.

A Celebration of Sacred Space

Sacred Tulsi at the Threshold of a home in India; Copyright 2008 Radha Lakshmi

The ritual practice that I experienced in India contains a sensory dimension. The ephemeral art form called 'kolam' has appeared on thresholds all across India for hundreds of years and yet little is known about the beginnings of this traditional ritual.

Rubbing oil or sandal paste on the idol or feeling the rice powder trickling down between your fingers as you draw the 'kolam'; the smell of the offering of incense and flowers; the braiding of Jasmine flowers for the hair while hearing and chanting mantras or prayers are all the sensory part of the daily rituals in India.

In many homes in India, the first activity of the morning involves creation of the kolam in three places – on the ground at the entrance of the house, on the floor in the 'puja' room (prayer room), and in front of the 'thulasi' plant growing in a specially made plant holder and dedicated to mother earth.

A Promise to Link

Craftsman weaving fabric; ; Copyright 2008 Radha Lakshmi;

We can enhance our relationship with nature and bring the sacred into our environments by creating a special place to recognize and honor the seasons and life cycles. It serves as a reminder that change is a natural and positive process of life. Surrounding ourselves with images and objects that have personal meaning can also reinforce the sacredness of everyday life.

Designs that allow some time outside of our traditional square spaces could be good for the soul. This space should nurture all the senses for it is through the stimulation of our sense of vision, touch, sound and smell that our inner most feeling emerge and can be healed. Utsavastu sells art that celebrate and enhances sacred spaces indoors or outdoors.

"Utsavastu" creates eco-friendly products that incorporate the essence of vastu and bring exuberance of celebration through colour, patterns and natural materials. In designing we are trying to contribute to recovering a memory of our most basic connection to the environment and help cultivate a sense of harmony and balance in our daily lives. We want to share this feeling with all who buy my Vastu mats.

About the Founder - Radha

Portrait of Radha Copyright 2008 Radha Lakshmi

Utsavastu was founded by Radha Lakshmi in 2008. Radha is on an artistic journey and Her art represents the introduction of her memory, migration, her studio art practice and theory.

Radha has traveled from India to America and only after coming to Australia to do her research and collaborating with the Aboriginal women did Radha realize how similar we all are in different cultures. Radha moved to the USA in 1987 with her family. Upon moving to Cincinnati, USA, Radha took classes and taught in the western genre at the University of Cincinnati. Over a period of years,

Radha studied drawing, sculpture, painting, and printmaking. Radha was immediately drawn to printmaking, which offered an endless source of learning and offered immense scope for innovation. Her art originates from her early exposure to oral traditions and original works of ritual threshold art in India called 'kolam' from Tamilnadu in Southern India.

During 2001 – 2005 her work documented her personal experiences and memories shaped by her contemporary surroundings. Coming from a traditional Indian background, and then living in USA relearning her culture, has been an interesting experience, which has challenged her artwork. Radha developed a renewed connection to a ritual threshold art called Kolam by using patterns and stories of everyday myths taught by grandmother and her mother in her art. Millions of women currently practice this ritual and it is embedded in their everyday life.

Because the kolam is prepared with rice flour, it holds special significance in the Hindu ritual – you starting the day with charity by feeding the birds and insects with food. At the time of execution the woman is supposed to face the rising sun and align the kolam with the cardinal directions. In the North of India these sacred patterns are found on the walls and the floor. They are executed during religious festivals or in personal ceremonies. In the south-western states of Kerala the design outlines are filled in with petals of flowers.

Following the death of her grandmother and her mother, Radha consciously sought to return to her cultural heritage and reconstitute her identity along cultural lines. Radha began using ritual art to illuminate that very complex notion of home, in a literal and spiritual sense. See more of her work at radartist.com